The day they closed the local bowling alley

Mark DeLap/Guernsey Gazette The Pin City Bowling Alley in Guernsey overlooks a vacant parking lot in the wake of the quarantine for Wyoming businesses. Karen Gueke who has owned the bowling alley for two years and Crazy Tony’s Bar and Grill for 16 years is concerned over the economic impact the coronavirus is having on the community and her, personally.

GUERNSEY  Sounds. Unmistakable from growing up in a small town. The roll of the heavy ball on the hardwood, the smashing and splintering of wooden pins hitting a hollow alley floor and that all too familiar sound of the pinsetter coming down and then the much anticipated “whoosh” of the ball as it comes back to give you the chance of a lifetime at the 7-10 split.

Silenced.

Another victim of the coronavirus.

The owner, Karen Gueke, who has also owned Crazy Tony’s Bar & Grill for the past 16 years, has had to lay off all 10 of her employees and is currently running the drive-thru on her own.  Currently she is selling liquor and food and handing it out her drive-up window to patrons.

She says that she has not explored the option of aid, because in her words, “there is no such thing as free money and you have to pay it back.”

“It’s all right,” she said with a cautious laugh. “I just hope I don’t break myself staying open.”

She is hoping that it doesn’t come to the point of a total shutdown.

“It’s only been two weeks for us, so we’ll see,” she said. “I can’t project what’s going to happen this month. Hopefully I can stay open, but I just don’t know.”

Gueke is trying to make ends meet, cooking food, packaging liquor and running for the bell that goes off each time a car rolls over the old gas station hose.

“Let’s hope it’s over soon,” Gueke said. “Through it all though, customers are super, super nice. They are very understanding. People can’t afford to eat out every day. I get that. And there are three restaurants, so I appreciate all the business I can get.”

The carryout business has been “hit and miss” she said.

“The weekend was horrible, but this business depends on the weather, too,” she said. “If the weather’s good, we are going to be busier. The packaged beer and liquor has picked up, but you don’t make any money on that because the mark-up is so high.  Your mark-up is on your bar and your food, so now, it’s just not there.”

She says that she is appreciative that something is better than nothing.

“It’s going to kill Wyoming for small business,” she said. “Hopefully we all have enough money saved to get through it. I just have to weather the storm and see what happens. That’s all I can do."

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